Krannert Art Museum receives award, acquires valuable new print


Photo Courtesy of Krannert Center

Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528), “Christ Carrying the Cross,” from the Engraved Passion series, 1512. Krannert Museum Art purchased the print in October through the Champion & Partners Acquisition Prize in Honour of Richard Hamilton.

By Yasmeen Ragab, Staff writer

The Krannert Art Museum recently acquired a 16th-century print by Albrecht Dürer using a $10,000 Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize awarded by the International Fine Print Dealers Association.

The museum is the first academic art museum to receive this prize, which is awarded to one museum annually. According to the IFPDA website, museums must be open to the public, primarily devoted to exhibiting works of art and legally organized nonprofits or government entities to be eligible for the prize.

Maureen Warren, the curator of European and American art at Krannert Art Museum, said the prize is an acknowledgement of the significance of the museum’s collection.

“(The museum’s) rich, permanent collection contains over 10,000 works of art dating from the fourth millennium BCE to the present. (Prints) account for just under 50 percent of the permanent collection makeup,” said Kim Sissons, collection manager of the museum, in an email.

Past winners of the prize include the Portland Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the National Museum Wales.

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Warren said she attended the IFPDA Print Fair in New York City in late October to purchase the artwork with the prize money. The fair is held once a year and sees art dealers and curators from all over the world.

Warren said the print fair is like a race of who will be able to acquire what because nobody knows what is going to be on display beforehand.

“The fair is always an exciting and invigorating experience because it features great art and people who are really excited about it,” Warren said.

Warren said she chose the piece because it helps enhance the museum’s collection the most.

“Albrecht Dürer is one of the most important printmakers of all time,” Warren said in an email. “He helped his contemporaries understand that artists were not mere craftsmen — skilled makers of beautiful things — but were creative intellectuals with great knowledge and imagination.”

Packed with drama and descriptive detail, the print, “Christ Carrying the Cross,” is one of the highlights of Dürer’s well-known series “Engraved Passion,” Warren said.

The print will be a part of the museum’s spring 2019 exhibition on sacred and supernatural subjects in early modern prints.

“It is a popular subject — Christ carrying the cross — but he was inventive in his design and had the know-how to execute it like no other,” Warren said.

The print has Pierre Mariette’s name on its back, who was a member of an important Parisian family of publishers, printers and dealers. Warren said the print had made its way to Paris by 1670, after Dürer created it in Germany in 1512.

“Now it has come to Urbana-Champaign,” she said. “I can’t help but wonder about all the people who have looked at it and all the places it has traveled over the years.”

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